For the third consecutive summer, the Class 3A state softball championship trophy will make the 3 1/2-hour trek across Iowa before it takes up permanent residence in Davenport.
A little bit of history was made in the process as well.
Top-ranked Davenport Assumption (41-2) built a 7-0 lead after three innings and held on to knock off second-ranked Louisa-Muscatine, 7-4 at Rogers Park.
A three-peat for the Knights denied a repeat for Louisa-Muscatine, which was the 2018 2A state champion.
Assumption became just the sixth squad in state history to claim three consecutive crowns, and only the fourth to win three straight summer titles. It joined Ankeny (1978-80), Lisbon (1994-96) and Dallas Center-Grimes (2013-15).
Clear Creek and Kingsley-Pierson achieved the feat when Iowa still held summer and fall state tournaments. The final fall tourney was in 1986.
“This was definitely tough because we had such a target on our backs, but we were so confident and we showed that in the first couple innings,” Assumption senior center fielder Lea Nelson said after she went 2 for 2, scored two runs and was named the captain of the all-tournament team. “It’s definitely the most rewarding, especially to go down in the record books of winning three in a row. To leave a legacy at Assumption is pretty incredible.”
Nelson, second baseman Olivia Wardlow, shortstop Nicole Yoder, third baseman Carlie Sammon and left fielder Emma Johnson were starters on all three title teams. Nelson went 8-for-9 at the plate, scored five runs and swiped five bases during Assumption’s three games this week.
Anna Wohlers went 1 for 3 at the plate for Assumption and drove in the first two runs of the game with a bloop single that just stayed fair down the right-field line. It plated Nelson and Wardlow, who took eight consecutive balls from L-M pitcher Hailey Sanders to open the contest.
Assumption refused to bite on the riseball of Sanders, particularly early on. She walked
four batters — a season-high — in the initial three innings.
“It was good on their part, they knew what was coming,” Sanders said. “Assumption is
an amazing team.”
Three Falcon errors in the second led to three unearned runs and a 5-0 Assumption lead. The Knights pushed the cushion to 7-0 in the third when No. 7 hitter Lauren Loken took a 2-2 pitch over the heart of the plate and deposited it over the fence in center for a two-run home run.
“To get the big lead early was huge,” Nelson said. “It boosted everyone’s confidence and it calmed everyone down.”
L-M answered the bell with six hits and four runs in the fourth to close the deficit to 7-4.
Assumption pitcher and University of Iowa recruit Allie Timmons hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any game this season prior to the Falcons’ outburst.
“I knew at some point they were going to score runs because they are such a good
hitting team,” Timmons, who finished the season 32-0 and won the final 41 games of her prep career inside the circle, said. “At some point you just have to breathe and regroup, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Maddie Mashek, Hailey Sanders, Katie Hearn, Brynn Jambey and Mallory Mashek all
singled in the fourth, and Kylee Sanders bashed a double to straightaway center for the
Falcons. Jambey drove in two runs with her shot back up the middle and Mallory Mashek plated another on a liner off the glove of Sammon at the hot corner.
But L-M ran itself out of the inning following Kylee Sanders’ one-hopper off the fence.
Mallory Hohenadel attempted to score all the way from first, but Nelson’s relay throw to Yoder and a bullet home to Wohlers was in time to get the out and end the frame.
“We work on relays all the time,” Nelson said. “It’s pretty awesome when you work on
something so much in practice and it correlates into a game.”
Timmons retired nine of the final 10 batters she faced and sat the Falcons down in order
in the seventh before the celebration quickly got underway.
“This one, I can’t even put it into words how much this means to our team,” Timmons
said. “We just really wanted to come out and end on a high, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Timmons allowed eight hits and struck out two. Hailey Sanders, who suffered her first loss in 22 trips to the circle this season, gave up six hits and fanned five.
“I’m so proud of our team because we had an amazing season,” Hailey Sanders said. “It just didn’t go our way today.”
Dav. Assumption 7, Louisa-Muscatine 4
Class 3A State Final
Friday at Fort Dodge
L-M 000 400 0 — 4 8 3
Hailey Sanders and Katie Hearn. Allie Timmons and Anna Wohlers. W — Timmons. L — H.
Sanders. Multiple hits — L-M: Hearn; DA: Lea Nelson. 2B — L-M: Kylee Sanders; DA: Gracie
Jevyak. HR — DA: Lauren Loken. RBI — L-M: Brynn Jambey (2), K. Sanders, Mallory Mashek;
DA: Loken (2), Anna Wohlers (2).